Here be a dragon

“First Swainby meets the eye, next Whorlton near,
Its ancient castle mouldering in a heap :
A little distant stands a mount rotund,
The form of Roseberry, but lower much:
Upon its summit swords and divers arms
Were found, dug up, supposed a battery there
To batter down the castle built below.”

PIERSON’S Roseberry1Walker, John Ord. “The History and Antiquities of Cleveland”. 1846.

Whorl Hill, once the lair of a dragon that terrorised the surrounding villages. Faceby was one of those villages. It lies at the hill’s eastern foot, and the name derives from the Old Norse “the Settlement of Feit”2Wikipedia Contributors. “Faceby.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 14 July 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faceby. Accessed 11 Mar. 2021., whoever Feit was.

Faceby today is a sleepy commuter village with just a pub, The Sutton Arms. In the 1851 census it boasted a publican, a blacksmith, a shoemaker, tailors, a butcher, a carrier, a miller, farm workers, tenant farmers and three cartwrights. 140 souls living in 30 houses3Barrigan, Alice. “Mormons in Faceby: 1852-55.” Blogspot.com, 11 Mar. 2021, northyorkshirehistory.blogspot.com/2012/11/mormons-in-faceby-1852-55.html. Accessed 11 Mar. 2021.4Amos, Mike. “Stumbling across Some Former-Day Saints.” The Northern Echo, The Northern Echo, Sept. 2015, www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/opinion/columnists/mikeamos/mikeamos/13638669.stumbling-across-former-day-saints/. Accessed 11 Mar. 2021..

Fours years later, in 1855, 29 of them, would up sticks and emigrate to America. They were mostly of two extended families and had become members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons. They were heading to Utah5Barrigan, Alice. “Mormons in Faceby: 1852-55.” Blogspot.com, 11 Mar. 2021, northyorkshirehistory.blogspot.com/2012/11/mormons-in-faceby-1852-55.html. Accessed 11 Mar. 2021..

Originally known as the Church of Christ, the church was established in 1830 and after experiencing persecution in several towns, the Mormons eventually settled in the Territory of Utah6Wikipedia Contributors. “Mormonism.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 4 Mar. 2021, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormonism. Accessed 11 Mar. 2021..

Missionary work was an important aspect of the Mormon faith and the first missionaries arrived in Britain in 1837, with a fund established to assist in emigration. Nonconformism was already strong in the villages of Cleveland, but the good folk of Faceby took enthusiastically to Mormonism, perhaps because Faceby was a traditional agricultural village surrounded by villages which had notable weaving industries7Barrigan, Alice. “Mormons in Faceby: 1852-55.” Blogspot.com, 11 Mar. 2021, northyorkshirehistory.blogspot.com/2012/11/mormons-in-faceby-1852-55.html. Accessed 11 Mar. 2021..

So, in February 1855 the Faceby Mormons left the village for Liverpool and onto America. Several family histories attest to their survival and prosperity.

 

  • 1
    Walker, John Ord. “The History and Antiquities of Cleveland”. 1846
  • 2
    Wikipedia Contributors. “Faceby.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 14 July 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faceby. Accessed 11 Mar. 2021.
  • 3
    Barrigan, Alice. “Mormons in Faceby: 1852-55.” Blogspot.com, 11 Mar. 2021, northyorkshirehistory.blogspot.com/2012/11/mormons-in-faceby-1852-55.html. Accessed 11 Mar. 2021.
  • 4
    Amos, Mike. “Stumbling across Some Former-Day Saints.” The Northern Echo, The Northern Echo, Sept. 2015, www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/opinion/columnists/mikeamos/mikeamos/13638669.stumbling-across-former-day-saints/. Accessed 11 Mar. 2021.
  • 5
    Barrigan, Alice. “Mormons in Faceby: 1852-55.” Blogspot.com, 11 Mar. 2021, northyorkshirehistory.blogspot.com/2012/11/mormons-in-faceby-1852-55.html. Accessed 11 Mar. 2021.
  • 6
    Wikipedia Contributors. “Mormonism.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 4 Mar. 2021, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormonism. Accessed 11 Mar. 2021.
  • 7
    Barrigan, Alice. “Mormons in Faceby: 1852-55.” Blogspot.com, 11 Mar. 2021, northyorkshirehistory.blogspot.com/2012/11/mormons-in-faceby-1852-55.html. Accessed 11 Mar. 2021.

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